Thursday, 25 June 2015

9/2015 More Nuku Hiva

Hi from Clare,     No 9,            More Nuku Hiva, Marquesas     Monday 22nd June 2015
It has been a week of saying goodbye to old friends as they travel west to Tahiti and beyond. Some of these friends we will never see again, all we can do is treasure the memory of our times together.
We have decided not to travel west to the Tuamotu Islands in the coming weeks as the trip back to the Marquesas would be 500 miles to windward. Recently we have learnt that the trade winds are strongest in July and August and so the trip back would be very difficult. We also received confirmation that our long term Visas for French Polynesia will be arriving in Huka Hiva this Wednesday. It is worth staying around to physically receive these to avoid any complications when flying from Australia back to Tahiti. The island’s cargo ship carrying diesel, petrol and cooking gas arrived this week after supply was delayed in Tahiti due to a strike. The locals and the cruisers descended upon the fuel wharf and the island was out of gas again in one and a half days. We are well stocked on Eye Candy.
We seem to have done a lot of waiting this week but we have managed to fill in time. We sailed around to Daniels bay on the south west corner and anchored for a couple of days. We went on a beautiful walk from our bay across to the next bay. You can see by the photos the vegetation is very tropical and the surrounding mountains make for a very dramatic back drop. We crossed a little knee deep creek and walked across a small farm with coconut trees, banana palms and many fruit trees. We stopped and chatted to the owners who were very welcoming. When we asked if we could walk around their property and go down to the waterfront they said “Of Course”. The island people certainly have a very relaxed attitude. I think the term “trespasses prosecuted” has never entered their minds.
Daniels Bay
We left Daniels bay yesterday and sailed around to Controllers Bay on the south east corner of Nuku Hiva. We came here to say good bye to Geoff and Alison on “Saraoni” who are heading out for Tahiti. We had drinks and dinner on Eye Candy last night and spent a very enjoyable evening together. Today it is raining yet again. The deck is sparkling clean and the water maker is having a rest. We just leave the cap off the water tank at the rear of the boat and the rain water runs down the deck and straight in the tank; it’s great to have unlimited water supply, the Water Nazi has retired. The downside to all this rain however is mosquitoes. Both Andrew and I, although we use plenty of mosquito repellent, have numerous itchy bites and are presently reluctant to go for another walk in this tropical paradise.

Once we have our Visas in hand we will sail to another island in the Marquesas. Of course we will have to wait for the right weather window – so just waiting, waiting.

love Candy xx           

Sunday, 14 June 2015

8/2015 Exploring the Island of Nuku Hiva

Hi from Clare,        No8  Exploring the Island of Nuku Hiva             Friday 12th June 2015

We last wrote when anchored in Comptroller Bay, Nuku Hiva for three nights. Each day we walked into the nearby village which is the second biggest village on the island with a population of around 300. Nevertheless it is a lovely village as you can see by the photos, very well cared for by the inhabitants. Our British friends Diane and Alan on 'Moonfleet' came with us and so we had good company. It has rained most days since we arrived in the Marquesas. Because the weather is so warm and humid we just accept getting wet rather than donning our wet weather gear. So each day the four of us would set out dry and return some hours later soaking wet and sometimes filthy dirty. We negotiated a particularly muddy and slippery track up a steep hill to view and ancient Titki site from the 13th century. I must say I'm not sure it was worth the climb just to see some rocks and get covered in mosquito bites – but we do these crazy things:)

Walking into the village

Village house

Local school

Replica ancient village for Cultural Festivals

Rare 13th Century Tikis
Ancient explorers

On Tuesday we returned to the main bay and Taiohae township which is the largest on the island with about 2000 inhabitants. It's a pretty quiet existence here with very little night life. After ten years of cruising this is the first major town we have visited that does not have a bar and a television covering of the latest global sporting event. Alcohol is very expensive and without the usual watering hole the cruisers are at a complete loss.

There are no marinas, ship chandlers or riggers/mechanics here which is amazing considering the amount of boats passing through and the repairs needed after travelling 4000 miles from Panama. There is a Yacht Services business run very capably by Kevin that can ship parts in from Tahiti (at great expense). But failing that you just have to make temporary repairs and limp on to Tahiti some 1000 miles further. Fortunately we only needed to source a new battery which has now been installed and all is well.

We did an island tour with six other cruisers on Thursday and thankfully it was a beautiful day without rain. You can see by the photos that the island of Nuku Hiva is a tropical paradise with spectacular topography. The mountains and bays are truly beautiful and the roads are flanked with flowering shrubs and fruit trees. These have been planted by local people who live in the towns but have land allotted to them in the hills for farming. We visited ancient sites where the Marquesan people gathered to celebrate and dance and also to perform human sacrifice to appease the Gods. At these sites the banyan tree (see photo) was considered a sacred tree and was used to place bones in and to bury people in.

Anchored in Taiohae Bay
Island Tourists
Restored Sacred Site
Banyan Tree
Classic Marquesan photo
Local Church

Last night some thirty cruisers went out for Pizza. It was a good nigh at one of the few restaurants in town. We sat on the verandah at a large L shaped table which was terrific until it poured rain and the wind blew it in across the table. Many people scrambled for their coats. I had my back to the rain so I put up my umbrella which worked very well and added to the fun of dinner in the tropics. The Pizza's were very good but unlike the Pizza nights in the Panama where they attracted the cruisers with a $1 beer special, the beers last night were $7 for a 500 ml can. Needless to say, not a lot of beer was drunk. We returned to our dinghy late only to find that someone had helped themselves to petrol from er to our fuel tank. There has been a petrol strike in Tahiti for about a month and supplies are low and it seems that anarchy is not far away. We have a good supply but we will keep our tank low until the strike is over. Andrew is considering fitting the dinghy with a petrol can full of water to assist any more people in “need”.

Today the locals have been competing in a canoe race. We saw them leaving the bay early this morning. It has rained a lot and so it's not the best day for it. Tonight there is a dinner in the local hall and then some traditional dancing. If it is not too wet we will venture over and have a look. The dancers have been practising and so we have been listening to their drums for a few weeks now.

The weather is very windy with the sea swell is big, so we will stay put in this harbour until the weather settles down.

We have booked our flights home arriving in Australia on 2nd August and departing 29th October. It will be very good to see you all then.

Love Candy xx     

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

7/2015 Nuku Hiva, Marquesas

Hi from Clare,                         No 7 Nuku Hiva, Marquesas               Friday 5th June 2015

I have included a photo of the swell behind the boat on our trip from Galapagos to the Marquesas. It is very difficult to actually capture the hight of a wave on the camera but the fishing line at the back of the boat gives you some idea. The other photo is to show you how dirty Eye Candy was by the time we reached the Marquesas. To me its quite amazing how slime, algae and goose neck barnacles stick to the boat when we are doing seven knots and the water is rushing past.

Don't look!

A very dirty bottom

So we have been in Huka Hiva for little over a week. This is the largest of the Marquesas Islands and we are anchored in the beautiful bay off the main township of Taiohae. As you can see by the photos the island is very mountainous and is covered with lush tropical vegetation. The weather in warm and humid and it has rained most days giving Eye Candy a welcomed wash after so many days at sea.

Taiohae Bay

The only problem is that all the boats are rolling as the bay is opened to the south east and the prevailing swell. We put a stern anchor out to hold our bow into the swell which is more comfortable for moving around the boat and sleeping; there's nothing worse than rolling from one side of the bed to the other:) The good news is that there are smaller and very well protected bays within five miles and so we can escape.

The Taiohae Township

Yesterday we left the main harbour and came a short distance to Comptroller Bay where the water is quite calm. Andrew went up the mast this morning to check lighting etc and is now stretched out in the cockpit having a well earned snooze. The weather is sunny and quite warm. The water temperature is 28 degrees but quite murky due to run off. I haven't been in for a swim as we quite often see a fin pop up near the boat. We are not sure if the fin belongs to a shark or a large stingray but its a bit off putting. We will probably stay here until Tuesday when we have to return to Taiohae to pick up a new battery which we have ordered from Tahiti.

I have included a photo of where the cruisers spend their spare time tapping away on the computer. The bananas hanging there are complimentary for the customers, singly that is, not in bunches. The basis kitchen is where the girls produce the most amazing culinary treats.

Where we all hang out - free wifi

Since arriving in the Marquesas we have completed the necessary paperwork to get a long stay visa for French Polynesia. This paperwork has now been sent off to Tahiti and we expect to receive the visa in four weeks or so. While we wait we will sail to the Tuamotu archipelago where there is crystal clear water, wonderful coral and snorkelling. As you can imagine we are really looking forward to this experience.

Well as soon as we pick up the battery and some fresh fruit and vege we will be off to the Tuamotus - Whoo Hoo!

Love Candy xx

Monday, 1 June 2015


Hi from Clare, Sunday 31st May 2015

We arrived at the island of Nuka Hiva in the Marquesas Wednesday evening after 3000 nautical miles and 18 days, 15 hours at sea averaging 6.8 knots for the trip. We experienced both champagne sailing with a 15 knot wind on a flat sea and also some very uncomfortable sailing with confused seas and rolling waves. All to be expected I guess considering that 3000 nautical miles is the longest distant between two land masses anywhere in the world. Thankfully we didn't have any breakdowns with either the equipment or crew and so all in all the trip was pretty good.

Since arriving we have been busy catching up with boat chores. Surprisingly, although we started out with a spotless boat, by the end of the trip poor Eye Candy was coated with slime, weed and goose neck barnacles. Andrew got to early the next morning with his scouring pad and scraper before the whole lot dried hard making the job twice as difficult. I had a month's washing and housework to catch up with and of course re-provisioning was high on the agenda. This in itself is not easy as the fresh fruit and vege market and the fishermen selling their night's catch start around 6.30am. The local community are up bright and early and so we have to do the same or miss out. The supermarket sells freshly baked baguettes and good French cheese along with New Zealand lamb cheaper than I can buy it in Australia (8 lamb cutlets for $8.30).

There is a basic kitchen with an outdoor eating area near the dinghy dock which all the cruisers patronise because it has free Wifi. However the girls running the kitchen make the most wonderful banana cream pies and chocolate flans and mini quiches for $2 which are absolutely delicious and impossible to pass up as the aroma, whilst tapping away on the computer, is just too tempting. The lunches look great too but we haven't indulged as yet.
I love the atmosphere of this place its very vibrant and yet quite basic; I will take some photos to share with you.

We have also caught up with our English friends Di and Alan on 'Moonfleet' and Aussie friends Jill and David on 'Sweet Chariot' and spent Thursday and Friday night socialising and exchanging stories. Di and Alan had a broken inner fore-stay and Jill and David lost their rudder. They sailed 2000 miles with a drogue towed behind for steering and still managed 130 mile days. It's rather reassuring to know that even with these complications both boats made really good time for the crossing. Of course the problem now is that the Marquesas has no real infrastructure for boat repairs. Only temporary repairs can be carried out before reaching Tahiti some 1000 miles away.

Tomorrow we hope to complete our checking in process. I have charged the camera batteries today to take plenty of pics for you; so until next time.

Love Candy xx

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